If you or your child has signs or symptoms of mumps, the doctor is likely to:
- Ask whether you or your child has been vaccinated against mumps and whether you might have been exposed to the virus
- Recommend a blood test to check for evidence of the mumps virus
Mumps is caused by a virus, so antibiotics aren't effective. But most children and adults recover from an uncomplicated case of mumps within a few weeks.
People with mumps are generally no longer contagious and can safely return to work or school about five days after the appearance of signs and symptoms.
Lifestyle and home remedies
Rest is the best treatment. There's little your doctor can do to speed recovery.
But you can take some steps to ease pain and discomfort and keep others from becoming infected. Try to:
- Isolate yourself or your child to prevent spreading the disease to others. Someone with mumps may be contagious up to five days after the onset of signs and symptoms.
- Take over-the-counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen (Tylenol, others) or a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others) to ease symptoms.
- Use a warm or cold compress to ease the pain of swollen glands.
- Wear an athletic supporter and use cold compresses to ease the pain of tender testicles.
- Avoid foods that require lots of chewing. Try broth-based soups or soft foods, such as mashed potatoes or oatmeal.
- Avoid sour foods, such as citrus fruits or juices, which stimulate saliva production.
- Drink plenty of fluids.
If your child has mumps, watch for complications. Call your doctor if your child develops:
- Fever of 103 F (39 C) or greater
- Trouble eating or drinking
- Confusion or disorientation
- Abdominal pain
- In boys, pain and swelling of the testicles
Preparing for your appointment
What you can do
- Write down symptoms you or your child has had, and for how long.
- Try to remember if you or your child has been exposed to someone with signs and symptoms of mumps within the last few weeks.
- Make a list of all medications, vitamins or supplements that your or your child takes.
- Write down key medical information, including other diagnosed conditions.
- Write down key personal information, including any recent changes or stressors in your life.
- Write down questions to ask your doctor.
Questions to ask your doctor
- What's the most likely cause of these signs and symptoms?
- What treatment approach do you recommend?
- How soon should symptoms improve?
- Are there are home remedies or self-care steps that could help relieve symptoms?
- Am I or is my child contagious? For how long?
- What steps should we take to reduce the risk of infecting others?
In addition to the questions that you've prepared to ask your doctor, don't hesitate to ask questions during your appointment.
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions, including:
- What signs and symptoms have you noticed? When did you first notice them? Have they worsened over time?
- Do symptoms include abdominal pain or, in males, testicular pain?
- Has anyone else you know had signs and symptoms common to mumps within the last few weeks?
- Are you and your child current on your vaccinations?
- Are you or your child currently being treated or have you recently been treated for any other medical conditions?
- What medications are you or your child currently taking, including prescription and over-the-counter drugs as well as vitamins and supplements?
- Is your child in school or child care?
- Are you pregnant or breast-feeding?